Symbology

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Symbology

Postby Part-Timer » Nov 3rd, '04, 18:25



The Effect

Symbology by Sean Taylor

EDIT: This is not an effect of itself, so for a description, see "Overall".

Cost

£20

Available from www.cards4magic.co.uk
www.alakazam.co.uk
www.magictricks.co.uk

And others, I’m sure!

Difficulty
(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

1-3, depending on what you do with them!

Review

This consists of a deck of 52 cards of symbols. 13 different types of card, in four different colours. Sean suggests downplaying exactly how many cards there are, to make the similarity with ordinary decks as small as possible.

The cards have playing card backs, which might will disappoint those of you who liked the back designs for the ‘Beyond ESP’ cards. I think that the card design is called ‘Atlantis’. Obviously, the absence of Bicycle backs could be an advantage or a disadvantage to you.

The box has some pseudo-licensing, which helps to make the deck look a little more authentic, in spite of the back designs.

The cards are marked, using one of the clearest marking systems available (you’ll be wild about it, I think).

Overall, the positive points are that you can use this for many tricks which use a regular deck. In particular, you can use a stack, be it Si Stebbins or even the BCS stack. I think getting the Eight Kings one to work might be a little too much effort, though. You also get a little key card to help with the stack (this is revealed on the website, so I hope I won’t get moderated). There are also a couple of special cards too.

The cards are nicely printed, with bold colours and the marks are fairly clear, but don’t leap out at you (in the wrong way).

There is a fantastic booklet which accompanies the cards and Sean has even set up a rather nice website (www.symbology-deck.com) which gives a little more information and also gives a list of effects which could be adapted for use with the deck, plus one bonus routine with, I suspect, more to follow. Sean and his friends have clearly spent lots of time researching routines to use with these cards. He also gives tips on handling them, so as not to make it look like a card trick.

Now to the negative points. First is the backs. They are playing card ones and some of you won’t like that. They are also not Bicycle, although in my opinion that cuts both ways. At least it’s not the poor backs on the Mindpower Deck!

Some of the symbols are odd. Obviously, to get the number up to 13, a few weird symbols were needed and they were partly chosen for mnemonic purposes. However, some of them are poor choices, in my view. The classic Rhine designs are circle, cross, three wavy lines, square and star. In this deck, the three wavy lines design is gone, replaced by a triangle. There is a two wavy line symbol later in the deck sequence.

There are a number of issues I have with this. First, if you want to use the classic five symbols, you can’t, unless you use the double line version. It might tip off someone who knows the symbols moderately well. Second, the symbol isn’t in the right place in the order. That’s a minor quibble, I suppose.

Next, there is a real problem, in my opinion, with one of the cards. Sean describes it as a “boat”. It’s a pair of triangles pointing away from each other (like the arrows above and below a button to call for a lift), with a line connecting the two triangles. I think this design is awful, because the magician or spectator can’t call it easily. “It’s the funny-looking thing like two triangles joined together, is that right?” *Muted applause*

I have my own views about the symbols. The third one in the sequence should be the classic three wavy lines, in my view. The “boat” should be replaced by the triangle and the two wavy line device should be an “equals” sign. That’s how I’d do it, anyway. It preserves the classic Rhine order for the first five symbols and gets rid of the awful “boat” design.

It would be nice to have it available in two different back colours. Some of the tricks mentioned are 'do as I do', or coincidence effects and having contrasting backs would help.

There are no black designs. I’d like to see Sean produce a companion deck comprising one run of the 13 shapes in black, plus four sets of the main five symbols, replacement cards for the three symbols I don’t like in the main deck’s colours, another set of the five Rhine designs in red and maybe some more special ones. That's just me being greedy, though!

Overall

8.5/10

The boat design, the lack of the three wavy lines and the back design each shaved off half a point. Overall, these are very good, though and the booklet you get with it is almost worth the price alone.

EDIT: For something similar, see the Phenomena Deck review: http://www.talkmagic.co.uk/ftopic13028.php

Last edited by Part-Timer on Sep 2nd, '06, 13:51, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby bananafish » Nov 5th, '04, 10:09

Thanks for the indepth review part timer. I have considered getting one of these decks for a while and haven't been able to make up my mind, so this will help. Maybe I will pick one up at the Ipswich Convention on sunday...

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Postby bananafish » Nov 19th, '04, 11:38

I did buy these at the convention, and haven'y looked back.

If you visit Sean Taylor’s website, there is a repository page that gives a bibliography of 100’s of some classic mentalism effects that are all given a new lease of life with these cards.

Criticisms/ideas.
The only thing I can think of is that it may have been nice to have a 3 wavy line card instead of a 2 wavy line card. I can see the reasoning behind this choice, but I think it would have been nice for consitency purposes. Part-Timer mentioned that he would prefer the 3 wavy line instead of the triangle, but I am happy for it just to be in the number 11 position. If anything this could through off potential know-it-alls (magicians)

I also think that it would be nice if Sean produced a deck that wasn't marked, so that the performer had a choice.

Having a set of 13 with a black face I agree would have been nice, and even though they wouldnt have to be always use they would open up new doorways.

In saying both these things, they are very minor points.

Bottom Line.
In short these cards give so much more credibility to mind magic that they are MUST have items. The fact that the layperson sees them as 52 completely random cards, and not Ace to King of Clubs, hearts, Spades and Diamonds, means that suddenly even many really basic card effects now become gems of mentalism. You will know what I mean when you try.

I can’t recommend these cards enough. The greatest thing in mentalism since I discovered the BCS.

Thanks for the initial review Part-Timer

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Postby daleshrimpton » Nov 19th, '04, 11:57

I must say I have read this review twice now, and I am feeling very tempted.
Maybe after crimpo when the bills stop coming in, and the gigs stop turning up...

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Postby Johnny Bravo » Jan 17th, '06, 07:49

The Fourth Principle

Mmm, no idea, I can't spot it. Just had a look on http://www.symbology-deck.com/ (which surprisingly doesn't seem to be password protected) but can't find any info on the extra principle.

Can anyone pm me on what this is? Ta.

By the way, nice deck, excellent booklet. Gonna have some fun with this deck. Seems well worth the money.

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Postby Strep » Feb 8th, '06, 13:51

Jonny

A clue.

Turn to page 21 of the symbology manual.....find the first number on that page. Now listen to that track number on Blondie's Greatest Hits Album.

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Postby Sean Taylor » Jun 16th, '08, 05:44

For those of you who had fun with Symbology, you might like to take a look at my hard backed book MindStorms. It has a whole chapter on the deck with some new ideas.

http://www.taylorsmagicshop.com.au/webcontent14.htm

Sean Taylor

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Postby Part-Timer » Jun 16th, '08, 22:15

Sounds interesting, Sean. Are there going to be any UK (or USA, for our American friends) distibutors, or will this only be available directly from you?

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Postby Sean Taylor » Jun 17th, '08, 10:05

Actually, the British ones are sent directly from the printer in the UK and I have similar arrangement in the USA. Since I own a mail order operation down here and its a professional mentalism book I decided to go it alone on this one. I don't want the price to be chopped. I'm keeping it limited and letting those who pick one up get something exclusive. H and R may have some at the IBM convention but only because I know Richard Hatch.

To be honest I got so screwed around by the big dealers on my last 2 items, I'd rather just sell it to people to know me and my work. I intend it to be around while and not here today, gone tomorrow.

I do paypal and all credit cards - It's the same price no matter where you live and I even have a UK bank account if people want to do direct deposit.

Thanks for the thoughts and I'm happy to elaborate on the contents if you are interested. You will also receive a free little bonus with the book which is a short performance DVD detailing primarily one specific routine and proving how well it works in the real world.

Sean Taylor

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Postby Sean Taylor » Aug 6th, '08, 13:02

A review will appear in next issue of Magicseen!

I have also listed it as a buy now on ebay if its easier for you to find.

Thanks guys for your support. Lots of them finding their way to the UK.

Possibility I might lecture there next year so will keep you all posted.

Sean

sean@seantaylor.com.au

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Postby Mr Toucan » Aug 19th, '08, 21:13

I have to say that this deck is one of my better buys. The fact that you can do pretty much any card effect with whilst moving away from it being a 'card trick' makes it so versatile and the 'Shuffle Symbology' routine from the accompanying booklet has had some great reactions.

As someone who is usually highly disappointed with my purchases, this one convinced me enough that after my son got ice cream syrup all over my original deck, I actually bought 4 decks direct from Sean to make sure that I'd never again be without one!

James

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Postby Sean Taylor » Dec 9th, '08, 10:41

To anyone who drops in here. Possibility I will be touring and lecturing mentalism in the Uk September 09. SSShhhhhh!

Beaut new thing with the symbology in that lecture too.

Half the books are sold so get one now whilst the Aussie dollar is feeble.

www.taylorsmagicshop.com.au
See my new site here www.seantaylor.com.au


Watch this space.

Sean

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Postby Part-Timer » Dec 9th, '08, 23:02

I'll do a review when I get time (early 2010 looks good), but I heartily recommend Sean's book 'MindStorms'. Not only is it a good read, but Sean dealt with my order in truly amazing time. I had the book all the way from Australia in a week.

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Postby magicofthemind » Dec 10th, '08, 10:47

Will you be coming to The Magic Circle, Sean?

Barry

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Postby bananafish » Dec 10th, '08, 15:10

More importantly - will you be coming back to Ipswich?

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